Carcinoma in Situ (CIS)
“Carcinoma in situ” is a general term that refers to a cancer that is still confined to the cells in which it initially started and has not spread into any nearby tissue. In some tissues, breast for example, it is not considered a cause for much concern. THIS IS NOT THE CASE FOR BLADDER CANCER. Bladder cancer in situ (abbreviated “CIS”) is always high grade and requires immediate treatment.
Bladder CIS presents itself as a flat, rash- or moss-like growth on the bladder lining. In some cases it may not be visible upon examination and only shows up when biopsy samples are examined by a pathologist. It is “high grade,” which means that the cells are very abnormal and are rapidly dividing. CIS has the potential to spread much more quickly than low grade tumors. CIS is often discovered along with papillary (“mushroom-like”) tumors or it may be present alone.
The standard of treatment for non-invasive CIS is immunotherapy. This involves local application of an immune-stimulating agent directly in the bladder. Statistically it has been found that CIS has a high rate of response to this type of treatment. Immunotherapy, along with frequent examinations by a urologist can be very effective.